E.On distribution system operators in Germany will put up to 180 new voltage-regulated distribution transformers into service by the end of the year. About 60 of the transformers, which incorporate technology from Bavaria-based Maschinenfabrik Reinhausen, are already operational. The technology was developed in a close partnership between E.On and MR.
The transformer technology developed by E.On and MR sets new standards for cost-effective integration of renewable energy. The German Energy Agency estimates that in Germany’s low-voltage networks alone, voltage-regulated distribution transformers could reduce the cost of network expansion by roughly $1.9 billion between now and 2030.
Voltage-regulated distribution transformers increase distribution systems’ ability to handle renewable energy feed-in. And even when renewable energy feed-in is high, voltage-regulated distribution transformers ensure stable and efficient network operations, thereby reducing the need for network expansion.
E.On and MR have been collaborating since 2008 to test cost-effective solutions for increasing the distribution system’s ability to accept more renewable energy. Drawing on the results of extensive pilot projects conducted in recent years, in September 2012 MR became the first company in the world to present a technologically mature solution for voltage-regulated distribution transformers. Called GRIDCON iTAP, the system consists of an on-load tap-changer, a regulator, and a sensor for the low-voltage network. When combined with a transformer, the system yields a voltage-regulated distribution transformer.